House | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

Culture and heritage



Item details

Name of item: House
Primary address: 17 Richards Avenue, Riverstone, NSW 2765
Parish: St. Matthew
Local govt. area: Blacktown
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
17 Richards AvenueRiverstoneBlacktownSt. Matthew Primary Address

Statement of significance:

Part of the significant group of houses fronting the railway line, this being the most elaborate. The group is significant both in terms of unusual form and historic association with the meatworks in Riverstone. This house was built for use by Mr Quinn, the Manager of the Riverstone Meatworks.
Date significance updated: 31 Dec 18
Note: The State Heritage Inventory provides information about heritage items listed by local and State government agencies. The State Heritage Inventory is continually being updated by local and State agencies as new information becomes available. Read the OEH copyright and disclaimer.


Physical description: Federation style brick house, fronting the railway line, featuring orange "Marsielles" tiled roof with ridge finials. The verandah is supported by turned timber posts and features fretwork brackets and a spindle valance. The house exhibits the higher quality of a Managers cottage relating to the meatworks and is part of a significant precinct of Company facilities built around the railway station for the meatworks.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Date condition updated:16 Dec 15
Current use: Residence
Former use: Residence


Historical notes: The history of these cottages is linked to the development of Riverstone Meatworks.

Benjamin Richards purchased over 679 acres of land at Riverstone from A H McCulloch in 1878. Richards was a major buyer of cattle and had a network of pastoral stations including land on the Hunter River, Liverpool Plains, Barwon River and at Milbrodale. The Riverstone land provided access to the newly built railway so that he could transport freshly killed meat to Sydney and other districts. It was also on the livestock route from his Hunter River and Liverpool Plains land. Eastern Creek and South Creek also provided water for processing the meat and washing down.

Construction of the meatworks began with a beef house closely followed by a mutton house. A railway siding was constructed in 1879. Nearby land was subdivided in 1881 and formed the core of the village of Riverstone. Despite this and other subdivisions, workers at Richards’ meatworks complained of a lack of nearby accommodation. By the mid-1880s it appears that Richards had constructed five cottages to begin to address this problem. A manager’s cottage 17 Richards Avenue was built in 1900. In 1901, nine cottages were recorded in "Butcher’s Row", now Richards Avenue.

Richards’s meatworks had become a key player in the local and export meat industry by the time Richards died in 1898. The meatworks then had three slaughter houses, engine room, boiler shed, tallow shed, bone shed, stables, implement shed, cooper’s shed, Blacksmith’s shop and twelve cottages of about four rooms each.

Benjamin’s son, Robert, assumed control of the meatworks after his father’s death. The business was known as Riverstone Meatworks and was managed by B. Richards & Co. Following the death of Robert in 1902, B. Richards & Sons Limited was formed to carry on his business.

Riverstone Meatworks was sold to the Angliss Group in 1919. In 1920, the property was transferred to the Riverstone Meat Co. Ltd. It was then purchased by the Vestey family of Britain through their company W Weddel and Co Ltd. A new meatworks was constructed in 1971-73 and the old works demolished. Smorgon Meat Group purchased the works around 1992 and closed it.

A number of the surviving weatherboard cottages are similar to pre-fabricated cottages available from George Hudson & Sons around 1910, although have different floor layouts. Cottages at the north end of Richards Avenue appear to date from the late 1920s.

In 1934, fourteen dwellings are recorded in Richards Avenue including the manager’s residence and the chief engineer’s house. 1936 saw the construction of five new weatherboard cottages including one for the assistant manager.

Two cottages (19 and 23 Richards Avenue) were demolished in 1941. Another two were built the following year and permission was given to build five more. At least three of these were built in 1942-3. A new railway siding built in 1947 led to three cottages being shifted to the rear.

The Smorgon group painted the houses in the 1990s before selling the property to Road masters. A number of the older houses were demolished around that time.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Commerce-Activities relating to buying, selling and exchanging goods and services (none)-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages (none)-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
17 Richards avenue is highly significant as a managers cottage from the Riverstone meatworks and as part of the precinct of Company facilities built by the meat works along Richards Avenue.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The cottage is a highly intact example of a middle management residence of the federation era.
SHR Criteria g)
The Cottage is part of a group of cottages and facilities relating to the 19th / early 20th century development of the meat works.
Integrity/Intactness: High
Assessment criteria: Items are assessed against the PDF State Heritage Register (SHR) Criteria to determine the level of significance. Refer to the Listings below for the level of statutory protection.


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental PlanAmend No 143 12 Apr 02 722262
Local Environmental Plan 8907 Jul 15 430 

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Blacktown Heritage Study1988 Jonathan Falk Planning Consultants in association with Rodney Jensen and Assoc.s  No
Heritage Study of the North Western Sector of Sydney1984B/R-3Howard Tanner and Associates  No
In House Heritage Items Review2009 Margaret Fallon  Yes

References, internet links & images


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Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Local Government
Database number: 1140101

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